5th – 7th August 2020

Lac d’Orient to Vouecourt – 73km

We had a good night’s sleep in the carpark at Lac d’Orient. Our plan is to stay for a few nights at a place that we visited two years ago, the first time we took our new van out. Today we are going to Vouecourt. It’s an idyllic place. The campsite is super cheap with free laundry and it’s right on the river Marne which runs approximately from the Champagne region to Langres way down in the south-east of France.

Vouecourt is a very idyllic location, a small town on the river. The campsite, and our pitch, is just stunning. If you want to get away from everything and reach a level of calm tranquility then this is the place to come. The small village is made up of a church which, when the sun is in the right direction, the stain glass windows in the church are amazing, the village has a small bridge over the river. An excellent place for cycling along the canal, which runs parallel to the Marne and for walks up into the forest. Once here you don’t want to leave. So we plan to stay here for three nights while we plan our next few weeks.

The 5th – Arrival day. It’s warm and sunny, we are lucky and we get the same exact spot as we did two years ago right by the river. We did plan for a bike ride today but instead we elect to stay put and relax by the river and admire the wonderful view that we have here.

The 6th – First full day. A relaxed morning. Bacon and eggs for breakfast. We like breakfast on the van. It goes on forever, coffee followed by more coffee and just chatting away until we realise that a couple of hours has gone by.

Today we will take a bike ride. While we are getting ready an English lady on a bike stops to say “hello”. Her name is Vicky and she lives here in Vouecourt and has done so with her husband John for over 27 years. We chat for about half an hour, she is a fantastic font of information about the local area. She kindly offers us to join them at their house tonight for drinks a a bite to eat which we gladly accept.

Finally, we set off on our bikes, no great distance will be covered, 12 miles we think. The bike riding here is exceptional and the scenery equally exceptional. We cycle to the town of Bologne. We almost end up having lunch but quickly change our minds, good job to as the return cycle back to base is for some reason harder so with a three-course lunch in us… well…

The rest of the afteroon is spent at the van chatting and reading in the warm afteroon sun. Laundry day today.

At 6 o’clock we take the short walk to visit John and Vicky who have a stunning house that they built themselves. They make us very welcome in their home and we spend the evening together along with their two collies Pip, Stella, and Rosie the cat. A smashing evening was had, Vicky had put on a fantastic spread, her homemade guacamole was to die for, and as for John’s homemade bread…, well that was amazing. Just before 11 we leave our kind hosts and the 4 bottles of empty wine on the floor and arrange to meet again tomorrow.

The 7th – Our last day. A shorter breakfast today, the drink the night before has a slight effect on us this morning. Today we will cycle in the opposite direction along the canal to the next town along, Froncles. Much shorter than yesterday, 8 miles, two hours in total which included a stop for coffee and a Pepsi. Back at the van, we spend the remaining afternoon again soaking up the sun and tranquility. Vicky drops by to say hello and arrange the time for tonight’s outing to “Tip Top” a local popular eatery in a nearby parking area, yes parking area, a bit like a UK layby. Very very popular and we tasted why. Excellent if a little unusual.

Another splendid night in good company. Many thanks to Vicky and John for their kind hospitality, we wish them both the very best and to see them again in the not too distant future.

We have been out for just over a week now and we have had almost perfect weather. We are under our budget, still, we have stayed in cheap but nice places and we started with a good stock of food and drink, expertly managed by Hayley. We have kept an ear and eye open for the latest news about the virus and we have noted that the number of infections is continuing to rise and countries are continuing to quarantine each other.

Our original plan was to make for the south coast of France after the Alps but the numbers have been rising quickly on the French coast as everyone is on the move to go there for their annual holidays, with this in mind we have decided to avoid the south coast of France and instead go back north after the Alps following the Swiss border back into the Black Forest of Germany, depending of course if Germany allows people traveling from France. The way it’s going we could end up just staying here in France. Oh dear. Could be worse.